Overcoming Extreme Poverty: A Source of Learning on the Path to a Governance for Peace?

Since its founding, ATD Fourth World has built its action and its mode of governance on a constant engagement with the following questions: How do the experiences and knowledge of people living in extreme poverty 
change our ways of living alongside one another and acting together? What kind of thinking and what kind of history do they generate and drive forward?

Today, on every continent, ATD Fourth World continues to bring global, coherent, and forward-looking answers to these questions. It does so by bringing together people who live in extreme poverty and people who are active in cultural, intellectual, social, economic, political, and religious spheres.

In this process, different forms of knowledge, different practices, and different forms of power merge together, minds and hearts unite in a commitment to collective responsibility, which fosters a specific kind of ethics of governance — one that is based on recognition of the human person and on steadfast concern for the most forgotten members of our societies.

In light of this shared concern, ATD Fourth World is organizing an action seminar on its governance. The seminar will be based on Eugen Brand’s experiences and practices as member of the General Secretariat from 1988 to 1993 and as Director General from 1999 to 2012.

Five workshops will be organized to help determine the content of the action seminar. Each workshop will bring together 15 to 20 people, including people who face poverty on a daily basis. With Eugen Brand’s experience as the basis for their discussion, participants will reflect critically on ATD Fourth World’s governance practices from 1988 to 2012. The goal will be to draw lessons from this experience in order to nourish ATD’s internal discussion of governance and to bring out elements for long-term discussion among all the seminar participants.